Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day at Neuschwanstein Castle

After renting a car and tootling around Garmisch, I set out on the Bavarian roadways to find my way to Schwangua where the fairytale King Ludwig II built his Cinderella castle high up in the Bavarian Alps. I've been there before but it is always worth a trip back. It is a quaint little tourist trap in the Alsp surrounded by the beautiful mountains and a lovely lake called the Alpsee. (Lakes in Germany are always a "see" i.e. Eibsee, Reissersee, Chiemsee. See means Lake. ) No kidding, this is a for real castle that the king built. I am not sure if he ever even inhabited it as around the time he was close to finishing it, he died mysteriously in the Lake near the Castle. His death was never resolved and to this day no one really knows what happened. The castle is the one Disney based the design of the Cinderella Castle at Disney. The castle is dedicated to the Opera composer Robert Wagner, who was a very close friend of the King's. The King was very cultured and loved the Opera and the arts and supported Robert Wagner's work.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, translated, New Swan Stone palace, the castle of the Swan Knight Lohengrin, of Wagner's opera of the same name, is a 19th-century Bavarian palace on a rugged hill near Hohenschwangau and Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. Although public photography of the interior is not permitted, it is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations in Germany. Ludwig himself named it Neue Hohenschwangau; the name Neuschwanstein was coined after his death.

The painting of the throne room is to the right which features a glass gem-encrusted chandelier; all Twelve Apostles and six canonised kings are painted on the wall that surrounds the pedestal for the throne - the actual throne was never finished; and Jesus, behind the pedestal. This reflects Ludwig's view of himself as king, by the grace of God. It is really quite an impressive room. The floor is entirely mosaic.

The King's bedchamber even had running water and a toilet with a flushing system. The King's master suite includes a four-post bed hand carved of wood, the canopy of which is carved as the cathedral towers from every cathedral in Bavaria, a secret flushing toilet (which flushes with water collected from an aqueduct) and a running sink in the shape of a swan.

The castle is the most extravagant building one has probably ever seen except for maybe Versailles, the home of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. That is also pretty extravagant.

Some of the surrounding scenery: Autumn leaves of beautiful golden colors in the forest all around the castle; another view of the castle; views of the surrounding mountains.

King Ludwig's Coat of Arms

Mountain pass on the way to the castle.
Early snow here last week. The scenery is breathtaking everywhere you look. The famous Zugspitz, the highest point in Germany, lies in these Alps. I learned to ski at this great mountain along with Josh and Justin. What an adventure!
It is always an adventure to come here and visit. We have been many times over the years and always have a wonderful time. We have traveled here for ski vacations together with all the kids. Dan once flew in to Munich and spent his school vacation here with us learning to ski. We have many fond memories of this beautiful place.

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